Acts 23 My Thoughts

In Bible Study this week we were discussing the first part of Acts 23. Being that it is a group of people from various denominational backgrounds I chose to not cause division but as someone who is searching and looking for answers and has a foothold in the Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement somethings I read made me think......hmmmm. My commentary in RED!

Acts 23

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Then Paul, gazing earnestly at the council (Sanhedrin), said, Brethren, I have lived before God, doing my duty with a perfectly good conscience until this very day [as a citizen, a true and loyal Jew].

Paul called his accusers Brethren
At this the high priest Ananias ordered those who stood near him to strike him on the mouth.
Then Paul said to him, God is about to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit as a judge to try me in accordance with the Law, and yet in defiance of the Law you order me to be struck?
Those who stood near exclaimed, Do you rail at and insult the high priest of God?
And Paul said, I was not conscious, brethren, that he was a high priest; for the Scripture says, You shall not speak ill of a ruler of your people.
This is the part that confused me! IF the law was completely done away with on the cross why then is Paul quoting it as Scripture AND as a law to be observed?

Also does this apply to us when we talk about our leaders who we know are only in place because God allows it? Are we not to speak ill of them?

But Paul, when he perceived that one part of them were Sadducees and the other part Pharisees, cried out to the council (Sanhedrin), Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; it is with regard to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am indicted and being judged.
So when he had said this, an angry dispute arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the whole [crowded] assemblage was divided [into two factions].
For the Sadducees hold that there is no resurrection, nor angel nor spirit, but the Pharisees declare openly and speak out freely, acknowledging [their belief in] them both.
Then a great uproar ensued, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and thoroughly fought the case, [contending fiercely] and declaring, We find nothing evil or wrong in this man. But if a spirit or an angel [really] spoke to him—? Let us not fight against God!
10 And when the strife became more and more tense and violent, the commandant, fearing that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, ordered the troops to go down and take him forcibly from among them and conduct him back into the barracks.
11 And [that same] following night the Lord stood beside Paul and said, Take courage, Paul, for as you have borne faithful witness concerning Me at Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.
12 Now when daylight came, the Jews formed a plot and bound themselves by an oath and under a curse neither to eat nor drink till they had done away with Paul.
13 There were more than forty [men of them], who formed this conspiracy [swearing together this oath and curse].
14 And they went to the chief priests and elders, saying, We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath and under a curse not to taste any food until we have slain Paul.
15 So now you, along with the council (Sanhedrin), give notice to the commandant to bring [Paul] down to you, as if you were going to investigate his case more accurately. But we [ourselves] are ready to slay him before he comes near.
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their intended attack, and he went and got into the barracks and told Paul.

Paul's nephew was the one who reported to the Centurion and the commandant. I had never noticed this before
17 Then Paul, calling in one of the centurions, said, Take this young man to the commandant, for he has something to report to him.
18 So he took him and conducted him to the commandant and said, Paul the prisoner called me to him and requested me to conduct this young man to you, for he has something to report to you.
19 The commandant took him by the hand, and going aside with him, asked privately, What is it that you have to report to me?
20 And he replied, The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council (Sanhedrin) tomorrow, as if [they were] intending to examine him more exactly.
21 But do not yield to their persuasion, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush waiting for him, having bound themselves by an oath and under a curse neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him; and even now they are all ready, [just] waiting for your promise.
22 So the commandant sent the youth away, charging him, Do not disclose to anyone that you have given me this information.
23 Then summoning two of the centurions, he said, Have two hundred footmen ready by the third hour of the night (about 9:00 p.m.) to go as far as Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.
24 Also provide beasts for mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him in safety to Felix the governor.

Coffman has some interesting things to say re: verse 3

Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: and sittest thou to judge me according to the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?
God shall smite thee ... This was doubtless a prophecy put in Paul's mouth by the Lord; for it is a fact that not many years later the reprobate Ananias was murdered by his own people at the time of the beginning of the Jewish war.

Contrary to law ... It was illegal to smite a man who had not been condemned; and, as yet, Paul had not even been tried; but such nice distinctions concerning the rights of defendants had long before ceased to exist in the reprobate court known as the Sanhedrin. The final years of that once sacred tribunal were marked by every kind of vice and venality.

Revilest thou God's high priest ... ? It WAS illegal to revile an authority such as the high priest; but the Sanhedrinists were much quicker to defend that law than they were to honor the law forbidding striking a man illegally.

and verse 5

And Paul said, I knew not, brethren, that he was high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of a ruler of thy people.
I knew not ... There is no reason whatever to accuse Paul of blindness (or near-sightedness), as some have done, or to insist that "Surely Paul would know the high priest,"[8] or that he spoke sarcastically, as if to say, "You cannot make a high priest out of contemptible material like that!"[9]

For reasons cited under Acts 23:4, the view here is that Paul simply spoke the truth and that he did not know the high priest by his personal appearance, although he might indeed have known his name. Milligan, however, thought that Paul simply regarded Ananias "as a usurper."[10] Paul's admission of wrong and the citing of the scripture in Exodus 22:28 which he had inadvertently violated does not seem to allow the view that Paul would have said what he did, if he had known he was addressing the high priest. True enough, the current holder of the office was vile; but the office itself had long been accounted sacred.

Paul's understandable outrage and impromptu protest, in all probability inspired, had two very important results: (1) it prophesied the destruction of Ananias, and (2) it led Paul to see at once that there was not any possibility of justice for himself in such a tribunal. "There was no prospect before this tribunal of a fair inquiry and a just decision."[11] This accounts for the strategy Paul immediately employed in his defense.

H. Leo Boles, Commentary on the Acts (Nashville: The Gospel Advocate Company, 1953), p. 363.
[9] W. R. Walker, op. cit., p. 72.
[10] Robert Milligan, Analysis of the New Testament (Cincinnati, Ohio: Bosworth, Chase and Hall, Publishers), p. 396.
[11] W. J. Conybeare, Life and Epistles of St. Paul (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Publishers, 1966), p. 591.

See the rest of Coffman's Commentary here


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